Politics of Business Career Path
Political Science prepares you for a career in business by teaching you the fundamentals of political economy and helping you to understand power and authority in organizations of all sorts.This is essential for understanding how politics and culture shape business and economic-policy debates, both in the U.S. and abroad. We’ll also give you the concrete skills you need to succeed; analyzing data, using information to understand and solve problems, debating ideas, and making clear arguments.
- Declare PS as your Major and pick your Career Path.
- If you are a current PS Major, submit the declaration form to let us know your Career Path.
- Enroll in classes you select from the Politics of Business Course List. And remember: these paths are road maps, not requirements—you can always go “off road” and define your own path.
- Get started in 100-200-level courses
- Develop skills in 300-level courses
- Refine skills in 400-level courses
- Check-in with a PS Advisor to be sure you meet PS major and university requirements along the way. Discuss how you can receive PS credit for an internship and consider working toward graduating with PS Honors.
Success stories: where PS degrees have taken our alums
After graduating from UO in 2009, Political Science Major Zack Geary returned to his native McMinnville, Oregon, to look for jobs. Zack quickly immersed himself in McMinnville’s business and civic life. In addition to working full time as a Project Manager for Cellar Ridge Construction (a pioneer in green building), Zack serves on the Board of Directors for the McMinnville Downtown Association, the Board of Directors for the Yamhill Enrichment Society, and the Yamhill County Parks and Recreation Board of Directors. Zack is also the President of the McMinnville City Club.
When Geary came to UO, he chose to study political science because he liked reading about politics and history and was fascinated with U.S. presidents and the American political system. “Between history and political science, I found political science more of a practical degree for what I wanted to do,” says Geary. “I always worked well with people and wanted to be involved with political life, so it seemed like a natural fit for me.”
While the relevance of political science to a career in construction may not be obvious, Geary says many of the skills he got as a political science major are important not only to his job but also to his role as a member of the McMinnville community. When it comes to success in both areas, Geary says, “I don’t think you can over-emphasize the importance of critical thinking, and political science really drives it home.” Particularly important (and interesting) to Geary, was the way political science taught him to analyze power and influence. “To be able to look at these issues – whether it be with private companies or a mix of public and private – and see how these applied to my daily life, this was really interesting. It helped me think about and see how people can work together…both business wise, as a construction company working with clients, but also volunteering and being involved with all sorts of people in the business world.”
In fact, Geary’s interest in civic engagement and local politics helped him find a job in the business sector. After graduating from UO, Zack volunteered on the re-election campaign of Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Stern. Through the campaign, Geary met John Mead, the founder of Cellar Ridge Construction. This experience illustrates how Geary’s political science education gave him what he calls “the intangibles of what it takes to be successful in a job, especially in a small town.” Particularly important was “knowing how to effectively network—and not networking just to sell widgets, but to establish yourself as a person in the community – to work both for a company and a community.”
Leslie Miller’s studies in political science at UO led her into global marketing, currently as Marketing Manager for Europe and the Middle East at the IT consulting company Bluewolf. “My PS career helped me prepare for my career because I had to learn how to receive and digest information and then discuss it in my own words,” she writes. “This has helped me in Public Relations, Event Planning, and Marketing because you are often taking an idea proposed by someone else and turning it into your own personal project. You need to stay on brand but be able to have your personality reflect the final project as well.”
Leslie grew up near San Francisco with Duck alumni in her family, and was “a Duck fan for as long as I can remember.” With a father who worked as a city manager in the Bay Area, she was curious about government and policy, and found that political science opened up the world of complex organizations to her. The multifaceted nature of political-science courses taught her “to adapt to all sorts of changes (whether large or small). Deadlines change, strategic plans change, information changes, and so on, but being able to move forward with these changes will allow you to be successful.”